Introduction and Objectives
The ability of Europe's research teams to remain at the forefront of all fields of science and technology depends on their being supported by state-of-the-art infrastructures. The term "research infrastructures" refers to facilities and resources that provide essential services to the research community in both academic and/or industrial domains. Research infrastructures may be "single-sited" (single resource at a single location), "distributed" (a network of distributed resources, including infrastructures based on Grid-type architectures), or "virtual" (the service being provided electronically).
Examples include singular large-scale research installations, collections, special habitats, libraries, data-bases, integrated arrays of small research installations, high-capacity/high-speed communications networks (e.g. Géant), networks of computing facilities (e.g. Grids), as well as infrastructural centres of competence which provide a service for the wider research community based on an assembly of techniques and know-how.
The overall objective of this activity is to promote the development of a fabric of research infrastructures of the highest quality and performance in Europe, and their optimum use on a European scale based on the needs expressed by the research community. Specifically this will aim at:
ensuring that European researchers may have access to the infrastructures they require to conduct their research, irrespective of the location of the infrastructure;
providing support for a European approach for the development of new research infrastructures, also at the regional and transregional level, and for the operation and enhancement of existing infrastructures, including where appropriate facilities of world-wide relevance not existing in Europe.
Support for research infrastructures in the present action is open to infrastructures throughout the fields of science and technology covered by Art.163 of the Treaty.
(1) Treaty of the European
Union (Official Journal C 340, 10.11.1997, TITLE XVIII (ex XV) "RESEARCH
AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT" (art. 163 (ex 130f) to art. 173 (ex130p)):